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'Cowboy community' shows its giving side
Sgt. Roy Plumb thought he was attending Dance for a Wish Friday, March 6 simply as a military representative.
While sitting at a table with his fellow soldiers, the Utah man had no idea his wife and three children were there to surprise him.
Plumb, a member of the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Lewis, was wounded and taken out of Afghanistan in October 2008. Since then, he's been at Fort Lewis and hasn't seen his family very often.
And that's where the Dance for a Wish planning committee came in.
Don Frazier and the rest of the Dance for a Wish planning committee always put together a "big surprise" for the charity dance and the group decided to do something for the military at this year's event.
"Generally, we take an idea from someone on the committee and we'll run with it," Frazier said.
Each year, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the NW, Camp Agape near Gig Harbor and the Fisher House at Fort Lewis receive money from the charity dance. This year's event raised about $40,000 for the organizations, according to Frazier.
"I think that the cowboy community has a good heart," he said.
For this year's "big surprise," Frazier said the planning committee started with the Fisher House who got them in touch with Anne Plumb in Utah. He said she was more than happy to surprise her husband at Dance for a Wish.
"We started with Fisher House and we went from there," Frazier said. "We were able to find a soldier that fit the bill."
At Friday's event, Plumb was brought up on stage to a standing ovation from the nearly 400-member crowd. After a couple quick questions from the event's emcee Randy Corley, Plumb's wife, 15-year-old daughter, 11-year-old son and 6-year-old son appeared on stage. The crowd applauded as the family embraced one another.
The Plumbs' weekend did not end there. The Plumbs stayed at the Silverdale Beach Hotel Friday night, the Fisher House at Fort Lewis Saturday night and went to the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Wash. Sunday night.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car provided the rental car and Westsound Bank bought the family's airline tickets. The Plumbs also received a $500 Visa card to buy food and other items during their weekend stay in Washington.
"They were having a ball," Frazier said of the Plumbs.
The Olympic College Culinary Arts students prepared gourmet hors d'oeuvres and desserts for Dance for a Wish and Frazier said the event donated money to the culinary program.
This year's event featured live country music from the Nathan Chance Band and "roving entertainment" by Roberto the Magnificent. Roberto traveled to each of the tables juggling, riding unicycles and performing other stunts for the hundreds of guests in attendance.
Aside from live entertainment, dancing and food, guests bid in both a live and silent auction. Live auction items included a trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, a big game hunting trip to Wyoming and a golf package. There were upwards of 40 silent auction items up for grabs as well.